It’s so easy to become overwhelmed with the hype and positioning around what social media (and social media marketing) is; what an expert is; and what makes that ‘expert’ a strategist that now and again I (like others of you), have to take a moment to shake our heads in wonder. The next step, naturally, is to share your opinions and insights.

What is social media anyway?

What we’re asking, telling, expressing and who we trust is still consistent. That’s a human truth. It’s ‘the conversation’, ‘trust network’, confidence in ‘referral’, and so on — not so new conceptually and hasn’t changed even though the ‘buzz words’ have.

So what has changed?:

(1) Who (the “collective” power of the consumer)

(2) What (the tools that enable that power)

(3) Where (the channels in which they exercise it )

(4) How (the media in which they express it)

So we’re really talking about (1) collective consumer voices, in the channels they connect to, relate with, and frequent, such as (2) Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, etc., that include (3) their websites, other websites, blogs, RSS feeds, digital devices, etc., with the media available either collectively or singularly whether it’s (4) text, music, video or sound.

What makes a social media expert/strategist MYTHS:

If someone:
1. Is a techie, they’re a social media guru

2. Knows how to use some, most of, (or even all of) the social networking sites and/or tools, they’re a social media expert

3. Is all of the above, AND they have online advertising experience (oh, let’s say Adwords, PPV/C, and the usual), these someone’s are now social media strategists

As a business, you can now safely put your brand in the hand of these someone’s, yes? (Ok, that was fun)! 🙂

What makes a strategist/expert TRUTHS:

2. An expert is someone who either knows (or learns), the ‘ins and outs’ of any particular thing. A strategist does not need to be a subject matter expert. They do however, need to understand how to ask the right questions (and what those questions are) that are relevant to the strategy in order to develop the plan. They also need to be an expert in defining (and articulating) how it relates to the strategy, in order for it to be successful. And of course, no strategy is worth its can of beans, without being executable.

3. Understanding social media is understanding how to communicate, when to communicate, and what to communicate all within a particular objective — based on a strategic plan. Probably without having to say so, this is well after asking to authenticate what “that” is, mapped to the objective.

When in doubt asking who the expert is and how they can help develop the strategy to integrate social media into your overall company initiatives (because you really need to), apply the social media truths as you would any other business initiative where strategic expertise and ability is the framework for success.

And if that strategy isn’t reflective of your business objectives (regardless of what it’s called), move right along.